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Full text of "Oral history of the Tennessee Valley Authority : interview with Dr. Lee S. Greene, June 11, 1970 / by Charles W. Crawford, transcriber - Brenda P. Meier"

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JUNE 11/ 1970 







I hereby release all right, title, or interest in and to 
all or any part of my tape-recorded memoirs to the Mississippi 
Valley Archives of the John '/illard Brister Library of Memphis 
State University, subject to the following stipulations. 

That I reserve the right to use this material or duplicating 
material in my own writing, published or unpublished. 

PLACE Knoxville 

DATE August 5, 1974 



IM Cam 

(For the Mississippi Valley Archives 
of the John ■ .'illard Brister Library 
of fViemphis State University) 

(OHRO Form C) 


CRAWFORD: Dr. Greene, we can follow any form we wish about 
this. I suggest that we start with some sort of 
biographical summary of your background, your education, your 
experience before getting to TVA, and then with this biographical 
background, we'll get into your work with the Authority. 

GREENE: All right. My education was obtained at the 

University of Kansas as an undergraduate, where I 
have two degrees in music and one degree in political science. 
Then I went to the University of Leipzig on a fellowship for a 
year, and I returned in 1931 to the University of Wisconsin 
from which I obtained an M.A. and Ph.D., both in political 
science, and I spent a year at Brookings Institution as a fellow 
in 1933 and '34. Then I returned to the University of Wisconsin 

to teach as an instructor in political science, and I taught 
from 1934 until the spring of 1936, when I came to TVA as a 
research person. I've forgotten the exact title, in the Social 
and Economic Division, which at that time was headed by T. L. 
Howard. I remained in the Social and Economic Research Division 
until January, 1937, when I joined the Training Division of the 
Department of Personnel of TVA. 

CRAWFORD: Where did you work? In what building were you 

located when you first arrived at TVA, and with 
what people did you work? 

GREENE: I worked in the New Sprankle Building under T. L. 
Howard and Lawrence L. Durisch, and when I joined 
the Personnel Division, I transferred over to the Daylight 
Building across the street, and I worked at that time under 
George Gant — G-A-N-T. 

CRAWFORD: Yes, sir. George Gant is on our interview list, 

except he's in Thailand, I believe, at the moment. 
Dr. Durisch is on our list also. 

GREENE: Yes, I know. 

CRAWFORD: Do you remember other people you were associated 
with at this time? 

GREENE: Yes, in the Social and Economic Division, I was 

associated with Lyndon Abbott, who was working 
with me on a study of municipal government for the State of 
Tennessee, and I also had as an assistant Henry Hart, who is 
now professor of political science at the University of 
Wisconsin. I worked in the Training Division with Richard 
Niehoff, Mary Rothrock, William J. McGlothlin, Herman Daves. 
I believe those are the principal persons I worked with in TVA 
In the Training Division, of course, I was associated with 
Gordon Clapp who was then Director of Personnel, and Arthur 
Jandrey, who was Assistant Director or Associate Director of 
Personnel. And there was George Slover who was head of the 
Employment division or section of the Personnel Department. 


Is George Slover in the Knoxville area now? 

GREENE: I don't know where he is. I haven't seen him for 

several years. Actually my work in the Training 
Division, as Supervisor of Training and Public Administration, 
put me in contact with quite a few people through the line 
departments and with some people in the field, although primarily 
my work was here in Knoxville. 


CRAWFORD: How much travel did you have to do in the training 


Very, very little. It was mostly right here 

CRAWFORD: Did you find the programs well developed when you 
arrived or did you have to develop them yourself? 

GREENE: No, not well developed. When I first came to the 

Social and Economic Division, I assumed that I 
would come into a developed program, but I found after I got 
here that I was expected to develop this program myself and I 
was made supervisor of a unit of municipal studies inside the 
Social and Economic Division. We were expected to develop a 
program. I was frankly somewhat surprised at this. I had 
assumed that there would be an on-going program for which I 
was hired, but I discovered this was not the case. I had to 
create the program myself. And when I went into the Training 
Division, that was a new program, and I expected to develop a 
program there, and I did. But in the Social and Economic 
Division there was not a well organized program at that time. 
Perhaps I shouldn't have expected this. It was a new division, 
but I had just assumed when I came to TVA that they would have a 
little bit clearer objective of what they were supposed to do. 

Actually, I think the Social and Economic Division 
was trying to make a place for itself and only partially succeeded 
in doing this. We made a number of studies that tried to get 
the attention of the Board. I felt, myself, and still feel 
that the TVA Board should have had in mind what it wanted from 
the Social and Economic Division and should have called on it 
more than it did, but I found in the organization that there 
was a good deal of competition for recognition and so on, not 
unlike the situation you have in the university. 

CRAWFORD: Do you suppose it was because of the uncertainty in 

the TVA Act itself as to exactly what purpose the 
TVA was? 

GREENE: Well, I think that is partly it. The TVA Act was 

vague in certain points, frankly, and TVA management 
itself didn't know exactly how it wished to proceed. And of 
course, at that time there was disagreement in the Board as to 
policy. There was disagreement during part of this time as to 
the kind of organization that should govern TVA. When I first 
came there was no general manager and they were in the process 
of moving towards the creation of the general manager. So there 
was considerable uncertainty. There was some uncertainty also 
as to the constitutionality of TVA. That was resolved during 

the time I was with the organization, but for a period of time 
there the management and employees were not absolutely clear 
that they would be allowed to stay in existence. 

CRAWFORD: I believe the Ashwander case was in litigation 
about the time you arrived, wasn't it? 


Yes, I think so. That's right 

CRAWFORD: What sort of program did you develop in the Social 
and Economic Division? 

GREENE: Well, I was only there during a portion of one year 

and our main project was the development of a survey 
of municipal government and administration in the state of Tennes- 
see. This was carried on after I left, and after I came back 
from England. The results of the study were published by the 
University of Tennessee under the authorship of Lyndon Abbott 
and myself. 

CRAWFORD: What did you hope would be accomplished by this study? 

GREENE: Well, I was not certain what they hoped to accom- 
plish. One of the purposes of the study was simply 
information. TVA made a number of studies of municipalities 
in the Valley. Tennessee was the first one that was issued, I 

think, but there was a similar study in Mississippi. There 
were studies made of other valley states as far as municipal 
government was concerned. There was at that time no publication, 
and there has been no general publication since, on this 
subject. We are now in the process here in the Bureau of 
bringing this study up to date and probably will republish it — 
The General Survey of Municipal Government. 

Beyond this, I'm not certain whether the Social 
and Economic Division had in mind the hope that the municipal 
electricity contract which TVA was in the process of developing 
could be used to change municipal government or to improve it. 
I'm not certain whether the information that we gathered was 
particularly useful to the electricity people in developing 
their contracts. We made a number of other spot studies that 
did have reference to the contract. 

I recall one that Bill Stevenson and I made at Milan, 
Tennessee, where we were called on to take a look at the 
municipal government structure in preparation for the develop- 
ment of the contract between the electricity section of TVA's 
work and the Social and Economic Division. But one of the 
difficulties there was that the electricity people have always 
more or less gone their own way in TVA, without paying too much 
attention to other considerations. They are a little bit like 
highway people in this regard, and I don't think they made too 
much use of the studies. On the other hand, the study has 
been useful, I think, in an intellectual sense, but it wasn't 


as pin-pointed and wasn't as service-oriented as I would have 
liked to have seen it. 

CRAWFORD: Did you envision any sort of cooperative working 
between TVA and municipalities in the Valley? 

GREENE: Well, we were interested at this time in the formation 

of a municipal league. Tennessee had had a municipal 
league at one time which had become dormant or even actually 
disappeared. I don't know the complete history of this, but 
I think the league got involved in Tennessee state politics, and 
it declined. So at the time we made the study there wasn't 
any spokesman for the cities and we felt in the Social and 
Economic Division that this was needed. 

One of the recommendations we made in this study 
was the establishment of a municipal league. This eventually 
did take place in the State of Tennessee, and of course, the 
league has become quite a powerful agency in this state. I 
don't think this was an outcome of our study at all; it was an 
outcome of a tax situation, but we certainly had this in mind. 
Of course, we anticipated that TVA and the municipalities would 
enter into some kind of relationship where the municipality 
would be the marketing agency for TVA's electricity, but the 
Social and Economic Division was really on the periphery of this 
because this was an electric power matter and the electric power 
people were, as I say, pretty self-centered. 


CRAWFORD: They regarded their aspect, I think, as the paying 
part of TVA. 

GREENE: Well, I think they did, and they still do, and 

they tended, I think, to go their own way to a certain 
extent . 

CRAWFORD: What was the size of the Social and Economic Division 
at the time you started work there, Dr. Greene? 

GREENE: Oh, there must have been about a dozen people, not 
counting secretarial help. 

CRAWFORD: Who was in charge of it at that time? 


T. L. Howard 

CRAWFORD: Did you feel that your previous education and 

experience had prepared you for the work you started 
with--social and economic? 


Yes, yes 

CRAWFORD: Did you find that generally true in TVA ' s management? 

Did most of the people seem to be doing work that 
they had done before? 


GREENE: Yes, there were young people in the mailing room 

and in filing who were temporarily on jobs of less 
importance than they had been prepared for because at that time 
TVA had the notion that they would hire young people and put 
them in this kind of clerical and almost menial job, and then 
put them in what you might call young executive jobs as they 
opened. This caused some difficulty, but gradually--even rapidly 
I think--most of the people who were equipped to do better work 
were put in those jobs. But there are a certain number of 
people around who are not too well placed, but they were over- 
educated for the job they were doing. But on the whole I think 
the people of TVA were well selected for what they were doing. 
There wasn't any special trouble of that sort. 

CRAWFORD: Did TVA have any difficulty recruiting any needed 
people during the time you arrived? 

GREENE: No, not in those days, and then with the depression, 

of course, there were plenty of applicants for all 

CRAWFORD: How were salaries in TVA according to your view at 

that time? Were they comparable with outside 



GREENE: They were higher--very much higher — much higher 

than academic salaries. When I came back from 
England in 1938 I came back to a position that paid $3800 which 
was a magnificent salary compared to academic salaries. I 
could have taken a position at that time at Miami University 
at Oxford, Ohio that would have paid me $2200, TVA ' s job was 
$3800. And for academic people that was about normal. Actually 
when I left TVA to come to the university I came out here at 
$3500 from $3800, or I guess I had gone up to $4200 by that time. 
I came back to $3500. Of course, this was a nine-months basis, 
but $3500 was a pretty good salary for UT at that time. Of 
course, at that time UT was underpaying compared to other 
institutions, but even so TVA salaries, as far as salary positions, 
were ahead. And we were also ahead, I'm sure, in regards to 
the wage people — the so-called blue collar workers — because TVA 
had the policy of paying union wages in an area where unions 
didn't exist to a great degree. 

So TVA's salary and wage scale, I'm sure, was above 
the average. Now, of course, the law requires them to pay the 
prevailing wage to blue collar workers, but their interpretation 
of the prevailing wage was the union scale, and a lot of times 
this was justified because this was the only scale they could 
get. They didn't have any information on non-union pay, so I 
think they were high, and I think they tended to stay high too. 
They are probably still high compared to the academic field. 


Now I don't know about private industry, of course. In those 
days they were probably higher than private industry because 
private industry was so hard hit by the depression. 

CRAWFORD: Recruiting was very successful during that time, 
wasn't it? 


Yes, yes. Right 

CRAWFORD: There seems to be some uncertainty as to what the 

real aims of the Social and Economic Division were. 

GREENE: That's right. I think that's true. I don't think 

they ever were perfectly clear as to their aims 
while I was there. They were sort of fighting for a place really 
and I don't know what subsequently happened to the division. 
I don't know whether their aims became clear or not. When I 
left it, I lost contact with it and didn't have any after that 
time. My contacts thereafter were with the Personnel Department. 

CRAWFORD: What directions were taken in this search for a 
program or a purpose of the Social and Economic 
Division? What plans were made? 

GREENE: Well, in addition to making municipal studies, they 
made a number of tax studies, and this has, I 


think, probably been an important, on-going operation because 
they have the problem of paying tax replacements in lieu 
payments, so their studies of economics and taxation were 
rather more practical than significant. Beyond that I really 
don't know. 

CRAWFORD: Did the Social and Economic Division serve any 

purpose of liaison between TVA and local or state 

GREENE: Not too much, no. I wouldn't say so. There again 

I think probably the power people had more of a 
role here, and maybe the planners. Now at one time, of course, 
the Social and Economic Division was a sub-division of the 
planning group as a whole, and the planners did have quite a 
few contacts at the state level, I believe, and were very 
instrumental in setting up the state planning activities of 
Tennessee and probably in other states too, but I'm not well 
informed on that. 

CRAWFORD: What was the nature of that claim mainly? Did it 
involve urban, architectural planning? 


GREENE: It involved urban planning—physical planning 

particularly. It didn't involve much architectural 
planning. I'm not absolutely certain what the role of those 
planners was with respect to the planning of the architectural 
structures of the dams. 

TVA got quite a bit of praise for some of the 
architecture at the dams, but I don't remember whether the 
planning unit or division did this or whether this was part of 
the engineering design. I expect the planners had quite a bit 
to do with it, and of course, they had a good deal to do with 
the layout of Norris, some of the layout at Guntersville and 
some of the layout at Muscle Shoals, as I recall. Oh, in that 
case they had something to do with installations like Fontana 
and Hiwassee. Their earliest achievement, and one that got the 
most attention was the layout at Norris. 

CRAWFORD: What did you think of the organizational structure 
of TVA when you first arrived? 

GREENE: When I first got there, of course, they were begin- 
ning to have disputes in the Board about functions, 
and they tried to divide the Board up, as other people will no 
doubt tell you. Lilienthal was in charge of legal power 
operations; H. A. Morgan, naturally, was in charge of agriculture; 
A. E. Morgan was in charge of engineering, planning, design, 


construction, and of personnel. And A. E. was the Chairman 
and he tried to exercise a dominating role as Chairman, though 
neither Lilienthal nor Harcourt Morgan found this acceptable 
and they tried to solve the problem by setting up Blandford 
as Coordinator, and eventually he became the General Manager. 

Now below that I think the organization was adequate 
enough for a conventional type of organization, but there was 
some problems eventually in TVA with respect to the comptroller 
of TVA, but I don't find any fault with TVA's organization. 
It is an agency which has gone through repeated re-organizations. 
It's sort of devoted to the philosophy of constant re-organization, 
which may be rather a good thing. It's sometimes a little 
difficult to keep track of it. But I didn't find anything wrong 
with their organization, because the Personnel Department was 
a fairly sensible one. There was one continuing problem in the 
Personnel Department in that the training activities of TVA, 
which included in-service training particularly, were in the 
same division as educational relationships, and this never made 
much sense and it caused a certain amount of diffusion of 

CRAWFORD: Why would you feel they should be separate? What 
was the separate . . . 


GREENE: Well the educational people were concerned with the 

education of TVA children at some of these locations 
such as Muscle Shoals or Guntersville , but they were also 
concerned with trying to establish some kind of relationship 
that influenced educational activities which I think, myself, 
should have been left to the state departments of education. 
I think TVA stepped out of its proper role there. And this 
had very, very little to do with in-service training and so we 
were divided in the Training Division--I was concerned with 
in-service training. Niehoff was concerned primarily with 
in-service training, but some of our colleagues, particularly 
Miss James, were concerned with educational relationships on 
a broader basis not of employees, but of children. And they 
didn't belong in the same division and I don't see much reason 
for having put them there. 

But aside from that, the Personnel Department was 
well organized — very wisely organized — and I think its 
relationships with the field were very sensible on the whole. 
I think they had a good organization. TVA people were very 
thoughtful about organizations; they paid a great deal of 
attention to them on the whole. It was sensible. The educational 
relationships role in TVA has always been a trouble-maker. 
It's never been adequately solved in my judgment and probably 
shouldn't have been undertaken. 


Some early training activities also included an 
in-service training of cultural activities of various sorts. 
At Norris, for example, they got into general intellectual 
activity and craft activity and all sorts of morale building 
activities of this sort which got in the way of in-service 
training. You weren't always clear as to what you were doing. 

CRAWFORD: I think you had a lot of creativity — perhaps a lot 

of creative people in TVA during this period, many 

of whom had their own ideas about what was needed best to help 
the region. 

GREENE: That's right; that's true. 

CRAWFORD: Of course, in their own fields, I suppose — improving 
library sources, improving education and so forth. 

GREENE: That's right. It was a sort of grant-giving agency 

in so many ways, but not from an organizational 
point of view those two things didn't fit together. But aside 
from that I don't see, off hand, anything wrong with the 
organization of TVA particularly in the Personnel Department. 

CRAWFORD: What were the major training programs at the time 
you were in the Training Division? 


GREENE: Well, my work consisted of giving classes at the 

University of Tennessee, mostly for credit, and I 
had enrollment from TVA personnel. At that time U. T. had no 
Political Science Department, and frankly one of the purposes 
of TVA in creating this relationship was to create a Political 
Science Department at the University. 

CRAWFORD: Why did TVA consider that part of its responsibility? 

GREENE: Well, I just guess they thought it was a good idea 

and nobody else was doing it so they contributed 
to it, and probably it was a good idea. It did help the university 
I think TVA had something of the same role in engineering. I 
think Dick Niehoff's work did quite a good deal to expand and 
develop U. T.'s engineering school, probably more than we did 
in the field of public administration because the clientele was 
bigger and the job was bigger. 

CRAWFORD: How did you decide what classes to offer? 

GREENE: This was part of our original program. We offered 

administrative law and public personnel administration. 
We still offer those courses. We've offered them ever since 



CRAWFORD: Did you consult with members of TVA as to what sort 
of courses they wanted to take? 

GREENE: Yes. You see, now this was Niehoff's job primarily 

because he was the training man for all of the 
Knoxville area and he and I worked very closely together on this. 
And then another aspect of our program was the development of 
management internships and personnel internships, and the great 
many people that we took in to those internships would subsequently 
become quite influential and eminent in the country. One of 
them was Jim Raney, who became Chairman of the Atomic Energy 
Commission eventually. One of them was Robert Avery, who has 
been very prominent in administrative work at the University of 
Tennessee. One of them is Norman Wengirt, who has been very 
prominent as a political scientist in the natural resources 
field in the United States. 

CRAWFORD: How did you set up the management training program? 

GREENE: Now this was a work experience for me almost 

exclusively. These people were taken out of graduate 
school by a country-wide selection process and put into work 
experiences for six months to a year—usually a year program. 
After that they were put into management positions in TVA. 


CRAWFORD: What sort of training did they receive during this 

GREENE: Well, I don't know how to describe it except to say 

that they were put in various offices and given 
work assignments to give them work experience, 

CRAWFORD: Intern-type training? 

GREENE: That's right. 

CRAWFORD: To what level did you develop these training 

programs? Did you extend it down to the level of 
construction personnel — people working on the projects? 

GREENE: No, not in public administration. Now the general 

training program reached all sorts of people from 
the top to the bottom. I think our public administration 
program had one conspicuous lack, and that is we had very 
limited contact in the administration with the top people. And 
I always felt that a Public Administration Training Supervisor 
should have been attached to the General Manager's office 
rather than a position in the Training Division of the 
Department of Personnel. Of course the relationship between 
the Department of Personnel and the General Manager's office 
was so close that the organizational structure wasn't as bad 


as might appear on paper, but I didn't think it made too much 
sense to have, in effect, a systems-wide supervisor attached 
to a division of the Department of Personnel. I think it should 
have been attached to the General Manager's office. 

CRAWFORD: Were the close relations between personnel and top 

management caused by the personalities involved 
rather than the organizational structure? 

GREENE: Well, both I think. It makes sense for the personnel 

people to be closely attached to the General Manager's 
office, but the Director of Personnel in those days was Gordon 
Clapp, and his contacts with A, E. Morgan and Lilienthal were 
very close, and he was a very able man, so it was partly a 
personal matter, but also an organizational matter. 

CRAWFORD: Were the public administration training programs 

supported generally by top management in TVA — Board 
members, General Manager? 

GREENE: Well, I think they were supported, but I doubt if 

the Board was terribly aware of them. I think the 
support and the awareness probably came from the Director of 
Personnel, but I'm sure there was no indifference on the part 
of the Board. My contacts were almost always with George 
Gant , the head of the Training Division, and with the Director 


of Personnel, and hardly ever with the Board, and not very much 
with the General Manager, although, of course, I knew Clapp 
very well when he was the General Manager. But the contacts 
were primarily with the Director of Personnel. 

CRAWFORD: What sort of relations did TVA maintain with the 
University of Tennessee and other universities? 

GREENE: I can't speak with respect to other universities. 
Their relationships with U. T. were fairly close 
because Dick Niehoff was in very close contact with Dean 
Ferris and other people in the College of Engineering. Now 
our relationships with the History Department, where Political 
Science was then lodged, was almost entirely through me. I 
know that George Gant had some contact with Dean Fred Smith, 
but I think it was minimal. I think the real close contacts 
were between Dick Niehoff and the College of Engineering. 

CRAWFORD: Why was that? Was that because at the time so much 
of TVA was concerned with building projects? 

GREENE: Yes, well they had all these engineers who wanted 

further training and the University of Tennessee 
Engineering College was rather limited, as I think at that 
time, and Dick took a certain leadership in bringing those two 
together to the benefit of both of them, really. 


CRAWFORD: Personal leadership at various levels played a 

great deal of importance in the structure, didn't it? 

GREENE: I would surely say so. Well, Niehoff was, as you 
know, a very energetic man . . . 

CRAWFORD: And still is. 

GREENE: . . . and imaginative guy, so he played a great 

part in this, I'm sure, because he had good support. 
Gordon Clapp and Lilienthal — I think they both backed him on 
this. Of course, H. A. Morgan was the former President of 
the University of Tennessee and a friend of President Hoskins, 
but I don't think Hoskins was probably too well aware of what 
was going on in this regard. 

The University of Tennessee has always been a pretty 
highly decentralized institution. I think this was an engineering 
proposition, and as far as we were concerned the matter for the 
liberal arts college was for Dean Hessler. And I think Dean 
Hessler was quite aware of the development that was taking 
place and probably was back of it to the degree that he could 
be with his fairly limited budget. 

CRAWFORD: Do you feel that relations with the university were 
as effectively maintained as they could have been? 


GREENE: Yes, I think so. I think that this is a fairly 

good success story on the part of TVA. Actually, 
of course, the University always feels a certain standoff ishness , 
I suppose, toward any outside agency, and I think maybe there 
were some suspicions that developed between universities and 
TVA, but on the whole I think this was pretty good and 
effectively maintained. I'm not aware of too much pulling and 
hauling on this. 

CRAWFORD: I get the impression that there was a good deal of 

respect for educational institutions, perhaps 
because you had a certain amount of movement of personnel back 
and forth from the agency in varying degrees. 

GREENE: That's right, and of course they were dealing with 

land-grant institutions. H. A. Morgan was a land 
grant man and their agricultural program in TVA was closely 
geared to the land-grant institution, so they operated as a 
philosophical matter, to a considerable degree, through the 
existing educational institutions. And I'm sure they did a 
lot for U. T. There is no question that TVA contributed greatly 
to U. T.'s development. Now I think that time has disappeared. 
TVA is not nearly as important as it used to be, but in 1936 
to '41 it was quite important. 


CRAWFORD: Both have grown a lot since that time. 


That's right 

CRAWFORD: More growth, of course, quantitatively at the 
university, I suppose. 

GREENE: That's right. Well, I think TVA has probably gone 
down hill a little bit since that time in terms of 
its program being less vital, less unique than it was in the 
early days, and the universities have more money and more federal 
aid of various kinds. I think their relationships are still 
friendly but TVA is not as interesting to the university people 
as it use to be. 

CRAWFORD: Well, it seems to me that you have had a great deal 

of idealism and ideas of really reforming the region 
in TVA at the early period, and working through the university, 
I suppose, is certainly an obvious way to do it. 


That's right 

CRAWFORD: Your service with TVA was interrupted, Dr. Greene, 
with one year in England, wasn't it? 


GREENE: That's right, I went to England to study the 

rehabilitation of the depressed areas and planning 
in general under a grant from the Social Science Research Council 

CRAWFORD: Were you still listed as an employee of TVA? 


No, I resigned and was reemployed when I returned. 

CRAWFORD: Why did you change to the Personnel Division on your 

GREENE: Well, I changed to the Personnel Division before I 

left. You see, I changed out of Social and Economic 
to Personnel in January of 1937; I received a grant from SSRC 
sometime in the spring of '37, and I left for England around 
June or July, and so I was already in the Personnel Department. 
And I came back to the same job that I left. 

CRAWFORD: What was the structure of the Personnel Department 
when you returned? Who was in charge of it then? 

GREENE: Gordon Clapp was in charge of it when I left and 

when I returned, and it consisted of a division of 
employment (I'm not giving you the exact names), division of 
job classification, division of employee relations, and a division 
of training. 


CRAWFORD: Do you remember who the division heads were at 
that time? 

GREENE: Slover was the head of employment; the head of 

employee relations was Ted Schultz; training for 
Maurice Seay to begin with and when he left , George Gant 
succeeded him. Incidentally, George Gant was in the Social 
and Economic Division when he first came. He was there when 
I first came to TVA. And I've forgotten who was the head of 
classification. At that time, I'm not certain anymore. Harry 
Case eventually became head, but I don't know that he was at 
that time. [I've remembered now that the head of classification 
was Carl Richey.] 

CRAWFORD: I've talked with a number of those people. I missed 

Mr. Seay, who was in Michigan — western Michigan, 
I believe, now. 

GREENE: Yes, I believe he went back to Kentucky. Well, 
you see, both Seay and Gant were concerned with 
this educational relationship. That was Maurice Seay's back- 
ground. Now Gant has a Ph.D. in history from the University 
of Wisconsin. He went to the University of Wisconsin when I 
was there. Now when he left Wisconsin, he went into adult 
education work; he never has held a position as a historian. 


His uncle, by marriage, was George Zook, the U. S. Commissioner 
of Education, and he certainly had an influence on George's 
career because I'm sure he helped him to get placed initially 
out of graduate school. So George had a certain interest in 
the educational field too but, of course, he became very well 
versed in management generally. 

CRAWFORD: I'm looking forward to talking to him when he gets 

GREENE: He's a very able man. He did his thesis in trading 

between the North and the South in the Civil War. 
In other words, his thesis wasn't exactly preparation for his 
subsequent career. 

CRAWFORD: That seems to be true in the case of a number of 

people who worked for TVA. They ended doing some- 
thing quite different. 

GREENE: Well of course, Clapp was an education man too. 

Clapp was brought into the TVA by Floyd Reeves, as 
Durisch will no doubt tell you. Floyd Reeves was in the field 
of education at the University of Chicago; he was very influential 
in picking personnel of TVA, and Clapp, I believe, had some 
educational position at Appleton, Wisconsin at Lawrence College. 


He may have been Dean of Men there; I'm not sure, but Gant and 
Clapp have been very great — (Or perhaps they were in the case 
of Clapp since he's dead now)--were men with a very great 
executive ability of a general kind. Both of them were very, 
very intelligent. 

CRAWFORD: Do you feel that TVA had a great deal of success 

in its selection of top personnel in its early 

GREENE: Oh, yes. It was full of very able people. A. E. 

Morgan, of course, was the Board Director, but 
A. E. Morgan is pretty close to a genius, if not a genius. 
Clapp was very able. Lilienthal, of course; and Harcourt 
Morgan was an able man, without any question. The engineering 
staff was extraordinary; there was a multitude of people in 
engineering. I thought the personnel staff of TVA, which 
included a great number of people, some of whom have become very 
eminent in their profession since then. It was a good group 
to be associated with--a very lively group. 

CRAWFORD: Did you have an opportunity to become personally 
acquainted with Harcourt Morgan? 

GREENE: Yes, I was pretty well acquainted with H. A. Morgan. 


CRAWFORD: Well, that's one of the things lacking in the 

study. I've interviewed Dave Lilienthal and Arthur 
Morgan, of course, but we missed Harcourt Morgan and I've tried 
to get the account together by talking with people who knew him 

GREENE: He has some relatives, but some of his family died, 
including his son. 


How would you evaluate him as an administrator and 
a leader? 

GREENE: Well, that's difficult. H. A. Morgan is not always 

well remembered at the University of Tennessee 
because many people thought that he was not very good at 
getting appropriations for the University from the State of 
Tennessee. I have no personal knowledge of this. I don't know 
whether this is true or not. Both Morgan and Hoskins have the 
reputation of having run the university pretty much from their 
desks. I don't know whether this is true of Morgan. It was 
true of Hoskins; I know this to be the case, but the university 
was very small then and the government was very personalized 
in the Office of the Presisent, and I suppose Harcourt Morgan 
had this same approach to things. 

My acquaintanceship with Morgan was not too close. 
I certainly had more contact with him in the years when I was 


at the university than I ever had with Lilienthal, and I never 
met A. E. Morgan, so I have no personal recollections of him 
at all. H. A. Morgan was an adroit, political person, and I'm 
sure he was difficult to understand. It was not easy to under- 
stand what he was driving at. He was very interested in 
natural resources and loved to talk about them, and I think he 
had a vision of natural resources that would be welcome in the* 
days when the people are so much interested in ecology. 

CRAWFORD: I had wondered about that. It seemed that his 
ideas were a bit ahead of their time. 

GREENE: That's right. I think that's probably true. He 
was not very good at explaining what it was that 
he wanted done, if anything. He could talk about the subject, 
and I think he probably was a creative person in this area, 
but he had a little difficulty communicating his ideas to 
other people. 

Now, I have a notion that in his later days, H. A. 
Morgan was not very influential in TVA. I think Clapp probably 
took over the management of TVA pretty well when he was Chairman 
of the Board. I'm sure his relationships with H. A. Morgan 
were friendly, but I have a notion that in his later years, H. A 
Morgan sort of let Clapp run the show and he thought about 
natural resources. 


CRAWFORD: You can't always tell about an organization from 

the chart, of course. Do you have the feeling 
that TVA, at least through the period that you watched it, has 
had generally one strong director at a time — one most influential 

GREENE: Of course, in the early days they had three strong 
directors. This was the difficulty. There was no 
doubt but what H. A. Morgan and David Lilienthal and A. E. 
Morgan were all strong-minded people, and all of them able. 
And I think Blandford was an able person when he became the 
General Manager, and the former Comptroller, Kohler, was a very 
able and imaginative man, and Clapp, of course, was then Director 
of Personnel — was in that same league — and the result was that 
there was good deal of conflict between able people. 

Now since that time I think probably two things 
have happened, although I am not at all positive of this because 
I haven't been close to it. One is that the Board has become 
less significant and the General Manager more significant, and 
beginning at least with Clapp as General Manager, I think 
probably the General Manager has become more important. And 
I think, beginning with Clapp as Chairman of the Board, the 
Chairman has become more important than the other directors. 

CRAWFORD: Do you consider this a normal agency development? 


GREENE: Well, I don't know that. I think that might be 

so. I think part of this is the function of 
personalities. When Senator Pope became a member of the Board 
I think there was added to the Board a person of limited 
ability. I think Senator Pope was, with whom I had a lot of 
contact (not on TVA matters), a "good man", but I think that 
he was not as able as earlier directors. I think that he was 
much more of a sentimentalist, much less able to draft and act 
on factual data than was true of the earlier directors. I 
wouldn't accord Pope the same regard as a person with intellect 
as I would give Clapp, Lilienthal, Harcourt Morgan and A. E. 
Morgan. I just don't think he was in that league at all. 

CRAWFORD: You have had some knowledge of and contact with, I 

believe, other government agencies. How did TVA 
seem to compare in the time you were with it? 

GREENE: Well, I think TVA was an outstanding agency. There 

is no question about that, but my contact with TVA 
is much closer than it has ever been with any other government 
agency, on the national scene. Now, of course, I've had a lot 
of contact with state and local governments and I have respect 
for the people that I met there. There are many able people 
in Tennessee local government, particularly in Memphis and 
Nashville, and we've got some able people in the State of 
Tennessee. But you would be hard put to match some of the 
outstanding personalities of TVA. 



Of course, the TVA people didn't have to struggle 
with the same kind of political issues as the state and local 
people have to struggle with, and I don't know how successful 
that Clapp might have operated a political situation, but I 
think he would have been very successful actually. He was 
very, very adroit. He wouldn't have been a political leader, 
but as an administrator working in a political situation, he 
would have been very good. 

CRAWFORD: Did it seem to you that TVA really had the 

advantages both of a private corporation and of a 
government agency? 

GREENE: In those days it had quite a few advantages. Those 
were eventually cut down and whittled down a little 
bit, so they didn't have quite the freedom in the later days 
that they had in the early days. In the early days they had a 
great deal of freedom. 

CRAWFORD: Why do you feel those advantages were cut down over 
a period of time? 

GREENE: Well, I think it's a normal process for a national 

government to try to coordinate its agencies and 
put them all under one set of rules. I think TVA found this 



to be so. They did, I believe, maintain a certain degree of 
independence, fiscally, and then part of it came about in the 
personnel field because there were advantages to being under 
certain aspects of civil service, which TVA employs themselves, 
and in a way they've got the best of both possible worlds here. 

CRAWFORD: There is still some feeling of separation, the 

separate listing in the telephone book, an attempt 
to stand out just a little from being another government agency 

GREENE: Yes. Well, TVA has been able to do one thing: it 

has maintained its headquarters in the Valley. It 
has a Washington office, but it is decentralized more than 
most federal agencies, and it was able to fight off attempts 
on the part of Harold Ickes, for example, to take it over, 
and it's been successful in being something of a decentralized 
agency at any rate. 

CRAWFORD: It seems to me that government agencies have a 

tendency to become a little less flexible and 
imaginative—clogging of the administrative arteries, I suppose 

GREENE: They do that. 

CRAWFORD: Did it seem to you that TVA avoided that more than 


GREENE: Well, I don't think they avoided it; I can't say 

whether they avoided it more than usual because I 
don't know enough about other national agencies. I think over 
the years some of TVA's activity has been taken over by other 
agencies, and some of its most aggressive and imaginative people 
have left to go with other agencies. This happened with respect 
to the Social Security, for example. It happened, then, with 
respect to the Atomic Energy Commission and so on. And then, 
of course, some of the TVA employees got older. 

I think now, possibly, TVA is going through a period 
of transition to a younger set of people, but in a sense its 
mission has been accomplished or some of its missions have been 
sloughed off or absorbed by other agencies, so it doesn't have 
the same dynamism that it use to have and its no longer unique 
as an agency for welfare purposes because too many other agencies 
have been created. So it's gotten old, I think, to some 
degree--no question. Now this may be a little bit subjective; 
I've gotten old too. It may be one reason I feel this way. 
I don't think TVA is as interesting an organization as it was 
in 1936. 

CRAWFORD: Well, it was one of the most creative organizations 
in the country, I think, at that time. 

GREENE: There's no question. 


CRAWFORD: How well it could accomplish that after the initial 
purpose had been carried out, I don't know, 

GREENE: One of TVA's difficulties is that they've tried to 

act in municipal and planning fields without an 
adequate base and with limited powers. And I think TVA has 
attempted to claim more influence in the field of regional 
planning than is justified. Its main achievement has been the 
creation of this electric power structure, and also probably 
been a very influential activity in the field of agriculture, 
but when it comes to the municipal field I don't think TVA has 
greatly changed this. 

CRAWFORD: I believe it was formed at least in part because 

of Franklin Roosevelt's idea that the South was 
behind the rest of the nation. 


That's right 

CRAWFORD: The part of the nation ill-fed, ill-clothed and 


That ' s right . 

CRAWFORD: What effect do you think it has had on correcting 


GREENE: I think that's very difficult to estimate, and 

really no careful estimate has ever been made of 
this that I'm aware of. I think it would be impossible to say 
whether TVA has had an effect or whether or not TVA has 
participated in the effects of other things that went on. I 
don't think it's easily feasible to say whether the provision 
of electric power has had an effect. I think probably it would 
be easier to demonstrate that they've had an effect in changing 
the agricultural life in the South than anything else. It is 
possible that cheap power could have come through the Interior 
Department just as well as through TVA, for example. 

CRAWFORD: Yes, well, the Department of Interior, as an old, 
established government agency, probably was a lot 
less imaginative and aggressive than TVA. 

GREENE: Well, of course, they have other power operations 

now, and Ickes, of course, tried to get hold of TVA 
power operations. And I'm not aware in my own mind of whether 
these agencies operate much different from TVA or whether it's 
more of the same. 

The thing that is not clear, and I don't believe 
that any economist could ever make it clear, is what effect the 
TVA power had on the region. It provided a power supply, but 
whether this is the case of economical development, I think, 


is a little hard to say. I think perhaps there could be a 
field to study there, but nobody has taken it up. 

CRAWFORD: I think it would be extremely difficult to evaluate. 

You have obvious improvement; still, this might 
have been accomplished in some other way--another government 
agency, private development perhaps--though you do have a great 
deal of obvious improvement in this area. What was the state 
of TVA at the time you left in comparison with at the time you 

GREENE: Well, two or three things had happened. When I 
left, the conflict in the Board had been settled 
and A. E. Morgan had gone, and there was a General Manager, 
so organizationally it was perfected. And the other big thing 
was its constitutionality had been established and it was an 
on-going program. It was well secured by that time. 

CRAWFORD: Why did you leave TVA for academic life? 

GREENE: Well, for a couple of reasons. My job was eliminated 

in TVA as part of a plan to eliminate it. It 
wasn't intended to be a permanent position, and I preferred 
academic life. That's what I prepared for and that's what I 
wanted to do. 


CRAWFORD: Did you take thought when you were in the Training 

Division of the future of TVA; that is, were you 
looking forward to developing future leadership in your program? 

GREENE: Yes, but other people — not for myself. 

CRAWFORD: To what extent do you suppose you were successful? 

GREENE: Well, I think our internship program was very 

successful in creating a group of people who 
subsequently became very useful in TVA and elsewhere, but like 
all internship programs, many of those people subsequently 
left TVA and went with other agencies. This always happens in 
internship programs and you have to make up your mind that that's 
likely to happen. 

I think that classes were less significant, although 
it is rather interesting that both Van Mol and Lynn Seeber are 
students of mine. Van Mol was an engineer by training, and he 
went into the Classification Division and he started to take 
classes in personnel administration as part of his training 
program. Now whether or not this had any influence on him, I 
can't tell. 

CRAWFORD: What was Lynn Seeber 's background? 


GREENE: His father was a county judge of Anderson County-- 
Clinton--and I think Seeber was a student of mine 
as an undergraduate at UT. I'm not absolutely positive of 
this, but I think so. But he was not in the training classes 
that TVA provided, at least not while I was running it. Van 
Mol was. 

CRAWFORD: How did you develop your training classes? Did 

you study other programs? Did you develop these 
entirely on your own? 

GREENE: Well, I studied other programs, but there were 

conventional type, political science classes. 
There was nothing especially unique about them. 

CRAWFORD: Did you seek outside talent? Did you use TVA 
personnel in this? 


Yes, we did, and we have since, from time to time. 

CRAWFORD: Dr. Greene, it's been a very good interview. Thank 
you very much for the information. 


You're very welcome. 



8^ AUG 88